Mohawk Language Preservation
Since 2020, the Paré Foundation supports a Mohawk language program at Kanehsatà:ke, Quebec. The multi-year adult immersion program is offered by the Mohawk Language Custodian Association of Kanehsatà:ke and is designed to ensure the ancestral language survives and flourishes.
Four students graduated at the end of the last session out of a group of six. Interest in the program is growing because the graduates are speaking Mohawk (Kanien’kéha) in public, and on the local radio station. That has inspired and motivated others: this year there were twenty-five new applicants, and twenty have been accepted.
Most of the adult students have no income stream or financial support to cover living expenses during their training. While federal funding from Heritage Canada pays for the courses, the Paré Foundation contribution is used to help with the living costs of students who fall short, and it is shared at the discretion of their board. This support motivates the students, who also do local fundraising to cover their expenses, often having given up regular work to meet the demands of the program.
The Mohawk Language Custodian Association has also managed to get help from McGill University, which provides access to a teacher training program; fifteen of the twenty new students are participating in both programs. This will help students acquire teaching skills. They will be able to eventually replace the dedicated Elders who have been carrying the project and who are currently teachers at Kanehsatà:ke Elementary and High School.
Centre Amitié, Ressources, et Entraide pour la Jeunesse (C.A.R.E. Jeunesse) is a Quebec, bilingual, non-profit organization dedicated to providing a community and a voice for youth leaving government care. Founded by alumni of care who have experienced the system first hand, the organization aims to assist youth after they leave care. The Paré Foundation is offering scholarships to two students who need support to continue their education:
Shanice is a student at University du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, studying Health Sciences. She hopes to become a nurse practitioner and would like to eventually work in Northern Quebec.
Elijah is a student at Concordia University in Montreal, doing a certificate of Arts and Sciences and taking additional courses with the School of Community and Public Affairs.